PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Panama City Police officers want to relay the message to drivers to slow down when crossing the Hathaway Bridge.
Sergeant Jared Hicks said the speed limit of 45 mph is clearly marked on the bridge, but it’s often ignored.
“The average speed people are driving is 55 mph, which is 10 mph over the speed limit,” Hicks said.
Hicks said when you choose to speed, you’re not just putting yourself in danger, but also others.
That’s why on Monday, he positioned himself on the east end of the Hathaway Bridge and used a laser gun to catch people driving too fast.
“Most people are running over the speed limit,” Hicks said. “It’s a matter of how far over the speed limit they are going because we can’t stop every car.”
In just an hour, four people were stopped for driving 60 mph or above in a 45 mph zone.
Hicks said Monday’s exercise is not to ruin someone’s day but instead to educate drivers.
“They’re worried about their own little bubble, and driving is not about your bubble… It’s about what all goes on around you,” Hicks said.
He said the majority of people driving fast are weaving through traffic, and that could cause an accident.
Hicks also said the lane change on the bridge is a big factor causing accidents, as well.
“Because it opens up to so many lanes, a lot of people think it is just a free for all,” Hicks said. “’Well you know there are six lanes here it’s an interstate because I’ve got six lanes.’ And it is clearly marked that it is 45 miles per hour.”
Sgt. Hicks said in the area just past the flyover, there are even more pedestrian-involved crashes than just vehicle crashes. That is a part of the reason why they are working so hard to educate drivers.
Hicks said the speed limit is set to 45 mph starting at about Moylan Road on Back Beach Road and stays at 45 mph across through most of Highway 98.
Hicks said the speed limit signs are there for a reason. Crews survey the roads to find the safe rate people should be traveling, and the state sets the limit based on that.